[PUBLISHED BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.] THE KING'S DIAMOND. BY FLORENCE STACPOOLE. (COPYRIGHT.) CHAPTER X. "Never heard the name!" echoed the baronet. "Isn't he a friend of yours?" Mr. Straight was still looking at the card bearing the words, "The Rev. Ambrose Mait- land." No, I don't know the name at all." I've shown the gentleman into the drawing- room, sir," said the footman. It wouldn't be respectful to the cloth to ask him to send word what his business is," said the K.C. Perhaps if Miss Chesney will excuse me I had better see who he is." The parson can wait a minute," cried Sir Richard. "Tell the gentleman Mr. Straight will be with him directly," he said to the man, and finish your luncheon, my dear fellow, a few minutes can't matter to Mr. Maitland, who- ever he is." But as Mr. Straight had finished he rose, and promising to return as speedily as possible he followed the man from the room. I'm glad to see you don't know me, Mr. Straight!" Such was the singular address that greeted John Straight when the drawing-room door closed behind him. He started, and looked h-ard at the visitor, then he cried incredulously, Jadd Yes, Jadd, sir I am complimented by your surprise, Mr. Straight." Why—you are absolutely unrecognisable—I should never have known you!" WeH, I hope not, Mr. Straight, a make up wouldn't be of much use if one's real self was apparent, would it? But a clerical rig out is very disarming-very disarming of suspicion I find it; one passes with very little notice, except from middle-aged ladies when one sports the black wide-awake, ha! ha! Now, sir, when I got your telegram I knew it meant something serious. Of course, you could not explain in a wire, and I couldn't delay to a-sk for informa- tion. It's generally most important that ser- vants shouldn't think a 'tec is on the spot; premature knowledge on that point, Mr. Straight, has done infinite mischief in many a case. So I resolved to come in one of the most unsuspicious of characters. Now, sir, I await your instructions." Concise and to the point as ever, Jadd," said the barrister, smiling, and as usual up to the mark." Mr. Jadd bowed; he was accustomed to com- pliments, and took them calmly. You were right in thinking it is a serious business in which your help is wanted," con- tinued Mr. Straight. It looki very serious in- deed at the moment—but I am trusting to you, Mr. Jadd, to render it less so." Again the detective bowed. Then John Straight explained as briefly as he could the facts of the case as he understood them, and described his interview with Sonia Koura- patkin, the discovery of whom caused Mr. Jadd to express his delight by rubbing his hands with glee and chuckling softly. He was an undemon- strative man, with a face that usually wore as little expression as a sheet of note paper, but it ciimsoned with satisfaction as he heard that the woman, on whose track he had been so long, and who had so completely baffled him, had at length been run to earth. You have her fast, of course," he exclaimed. No, worse luck. She has slipped through our fingers again," said Straight, dolefully. The detective uttered, below his breath, an expletive of an extremely strong description. It was cer- tainly hard luck to hear this. You've wired up to headquarters about her— sent her description on?" Oh, yes, of course," and then he described Sonia's method of escape, and how she had locked him in and so got a fair start. The ludi- crous aspect of the matter appealed but little to Mr. Jadd. He was irritated that such a thing should have happened, and he couldn't under- stand it. John Straight did not explain hmv he had been deluded by the exclamation of Madnmoisello de .Tude that Dora Chesney >• as walking- outside with a gentleman, and how his attention had been so distracted in consequence that he had turned to the window and knew -nothing of the young woman's movements until he heard the door slam and found himself locked in. It was little wonder therefore that Detective Inspector Jadd should be at a loss to understand how a sharp, capable man like Mr. Straight, K.C., should have been so completely butter- fingered in this important business, and should have let this fine fish drop off the hook so easily. He felt inclined to be sulky in consequence, but the rest of the tale, as it was graphically un- folded, soon interested him. He saw there were difficulties in the case worth grappling with, and his professional interest being roused, he listened attentively to all the details which Mr. Strnight could give him. The most remarkable points in the whole business," said that gentleman in conclusion, are what Sir Richard Chesney lays so much stress upon. Tho facts that the stone should have been taken and the case left. and taken from under his head without awakening him, and that no one knew he had the diamond in his possession." So he thought," said the detective briefly. Then silence supervened, during which Mr. Jadd surveyed the carpet, and the barrister looked at him waiting to hear what the first move in the direction of discovery was to be. "Can I see Sir Richard Chesney?" Certainly." "Better fetch him in here. The clergy are mostly received in the drawing-room," remarked the detective, who was not in the habit of stand- ing on ceremony in important cases. Tell him who I am, will you, Mr. Straight; it will save time." Sir Richard was presently ushered in by his new acquaintance. It was the first time in his life that he had personally to interview a mem- ber of the detective force, and his manner was perturbed. Mr. Jadd's calm business-like air, however, scon reassured him. The officer went directly to the point after making his bow on introduction to his client. I must ask you, Sir Richard." he said, at once, to be good enough to tell me the exact Btory of how this stone came into your possession from the moment you first heard of it, please, with all that concerns it, until the moment you last saw it. Take time, sir. Think it all out clearly, and tell me everything, down to the smallest detail if you please. I'll sit down, if you'll allow me." They were all standing in a group. And if you'll do the same, Sir Richard, and take time. and forget nothing, however trivial, it will facilitate matters." To be sure—to be sure—excuse me; sit down, pray," said the baronet. "I'll tell you every- thing; there's not a great deal to tell. It all happened within the last three days, and every incident is fresh in my mind, of course." He sat down, and Mr Jadd ensconced himself in an easy chair, folded his arms on his chest, crossed his legs, leaned himself back on the cushions, and closed his eyes. I'll tell Miss Chesney that the interview may last some little time," said Straight. She will be so anxious if she is kept in suspense. I'll be back directly," and he hurried from the room. Inspector Jadd opened his eyes, and for an in- stant the notepaper expression of his face was illuminated with a peculiar gleam, and his eyes darted a quick look at Sir Richard Chesney; then he shut them again and resumed the look of placidity his features had composed themselves into as he prepared to listen to the history of the missing diamond. John Straight speedily returned. He had in- deed been earnestly besought to do so by Dora, who seemed to think that her father would be in some peril if left alono with the detective. I will go and walk outside," she said; it is easier to bear suspense out-of-doors than sitting in the house. You will tell me truly what chance the detective thinks there will be of getting back the diamond, won't y.iu ?" "I will-indeed. I will. I will come to you directly he has finished his inquiries." Then I will go towards the wood," she said with a melancholy little smile, and look at the blue hyacinths." When the K.C. returned to the drawing-room the detective darted another penetrating glance at him; and for a fraction of a moment Mr. Jadd's thin lips were compressed and stretched to an unnatural width. It was one of his methods of smiling. I only heard of this diamond," said Sir Richard, "a week ago. My friend Lord Heding- ton, who is a well-known collector, wrote to me Baying that Prince Akbar. who is an emir or chief of a tribe, wished to dispose of a. wonderful diamond. It bad belonged to the Persian Regalia, but had come into this Akbar's family during some Persian war. Lord Hedington knew this man's father formerly, they are Arabians, you know, and Lord Hedington at one time was Governor of Aden, and he had seen the diamond. It was famous all over Yemen, and went among the English in Aden by the name of the King's Diamond, a translation of its Persian name. Well, it seems that Prince Akbar's tribe has a feud on with a neighbouring ene, and he has come to Europe to -raise funds to carry it on. He oame to Lord Hedington as a friend of his father's, and his lordship sent him on to me, and sent me a. line privately •telling me tha stone WM worth lookiag L He paused, "Take time, sir, take timft," said the doeteeti. placidly, "pray don't hwry." Sir Richard had spoken rapidly, feeling to the detective as one would to a physician in charge of a critical case, that the sooner he was put in possession of all the symptoms connected with it, the sooner would his treatment begin. Well," he resumed, trying to speak deliberately, and to restrain the agitation that was hurrying on his tongue, "I made an appointment for the Prince to bring the diamond for me to see. He had explained when he wrote, that he was pressed for money, and would take less for the stone than its value if he could find a private purchaser who would undertake that it should not be cut up, nor be sold again where it cannot be traced, that was why he brought it to England, otherwise he could have sold it easily in Constantinople, but he wants to have the right to buy it back again if he comes off victorious. He will buy it back at a large advance. This, of course, makes it a good investment." He looked for corroboration to the detective, but Mr. Jadd's eyes were closed, he was lying back in the cushioned chair, with no more ex- pression on his face than a sleeping baby. So Sir ltichard continued: "He begged me not to let any one know why he was coming. Possess- ing a stone of such value, of course, exposes one to great risk, and. of course, too, if the news leaked out that such a jewel was in England, all the professional thieves in the country would be 011 its track. So I did not let a creature know the purport of his visit, I did not even ten my daughter or my nephew. I merely said he was coming on business." Mr. Jadd opened his eyes, and raised his head from the chair cushion, remarking: "And this lady who has bolted knew nothing about your having possession of the stone—Mr. Straight has told me all that—she was away at Hastings, we need not take up time going into that. Well, sir. you interviewed this Prince alone, and received the stone from him. Where did you interview him ? Every detail is important, please remember." He came dewn," said Sir Richard, speaking with careful deliberation, "by the train that arrives at Pembridge at one o'clock; the same you came in tc-day, by the way," looking at Jadd. NVwhaven express, leaves Victoria 10-55," said the detective, nodding his head. "Yes, Sir Richard, please proceed." I met him, drove him to the house, we had luncheon, not a word on the subject of the diamond was spoken until he and I were locked into the library." At the word "locked" Straight remembered Mrs. Wilkinson's graphic description of the way in which the household knew that the library door was, not merely shut, but locked. Can your conversation have been over- heard?" he exclaimed, eagerly. And he imme- diately repeated Mrs. Wilkinson's account of Higgs the butler listening to the ketch of the lock shooting with a click." Both Sir Richard and the detective shook their heads simultaneously and decidedly. You come into the library presently, Mr. Straight, you'll see there is no possibility that we could have been overheard outside. We did not converse in the library, but in a little den at the other end of it, where I keep my private papers and such things. It's thirty feet from the door, and shut off from the room by a baize door. It was in there we talked—and Orientals have soft voices. The Prince couldn't be over- heard, even if he had been near the lock with the ketch; as they call it, and I'd answer for Higgs Lo any amount-why. he has been over twenty years in my service." "Besidfs," spiel Mr. Jadd, drily, "he would scarcely have tattled about the matter in the village if lie had been listening at the door with the object of committing a felony." John Straight relapsed into silence, embracing his knee with both hands and staring gloomily at the tip of his varnished walking shoe. When I saw the diamond," continued Sir Richard, I knew that its value must be immense, and I really did not feel disposed to take chaige of it even for a day or two. I said so at once to Prince Akbar, but when he showed me the extraordinary mechanism of the little case in which he kept it, and suggested that I should let. no one know anything about its being in the house, I thought it would be safe enough. My object in letting the Prince bring the stone to me was, I must tell you, a commercial one. The Duke of Margam asked me some time ago to let him know of any exceptionally fine dia- monds I might hear of. He is collecting t-hem to make a necklace for his eldest daughter when she comes of age, and he wants it to be the finest in the Kingdom." Straight looked up suddenly, an expression of alarm had sprung into his eyes. He was on the point of exclaiming In fact, you took the stone to sell it on commission?" but he pulled himself Tip in time. Sir Richard would probably have resented the question put in this abrupt fashion in the presence of the detective, and he would also no doubt have been alarmed by the con- sternation which Straight knew would have been in his voice if he had spoken at the moment, for he did in truth feel a considerable accession of uneasiness on the baronet's account on hearing his statement. If he took the stone to sell on commission, there was no doubt whatever but that he would be liable for its value. In spite of the intricacy of the law on the subject of bail- ments," this fact was incontestable. It would be time enough, however, to go into this if the diamond's whereabouts could not be discovered. This was a question of law not police, and could wait until Jadd had had his turn at the wickets. So the King's Counsel subsided into his easy sluiir again, his startled movement unnoticed by the others. I thought," Sir Richard went on, that his Grace would probably be glad of the opportunity of obtaining a unique stone like this King's Dia- mond. As to the question of selling it again, that would, of course, be a matter for his future consideration. In order to have an impartial idea of its value, the Prince suggested that it should be valued by two diamond merchants— one chosen by me, and one by him. I thought the idea a good and fair one." It was," said Jadd, as Sir Richard had paused and looked at him inquiringly. .0 I was sorry, however, that he had not sug- gested it when he wrote to me in the first in- stance, because it caused an unexpected delay, and obliged me to keep the stone longer than I. need have done. We arranged that the men were to be wired for and asked to come next dty. hut one .of them, Van Sluys, could not come until to-day. They were both to have arrived this morning, but of course I had to wire up to stop them—" The recollection of all the trouble that was probably in store for him over the unlucky transaction suddenly overwhelmed poor Sir Richard, hie voice faltered, and he got up and paced the room struggling for com- posure. Take time, sir, take time," remarked the detective encouragingly; "don't lose heart, I've sifted worse cases than this to the bottom." Well, I can't conceive a worse case, Mr. Jadd. I mean a more mysterious one," said Sir Richard sitting down again. The case was left when the diamond was taken," said Jadd. Can I see the case ?" If Certainly," and Sir Richard immediately produced it from an inner pocket. It was a small dark leather-covered box, square, and with no visible opening, or means of being opened. The baronet placed it in the detective's hands, and Mr. Jadd held it on his outstretched palm, Ic-oking at it appraisingly, while John Straight came forward and looked at it with interest. "Can you guess how it's opened?" asked Sir Richard. If W plI, no. I can't say that I can," replied the detective inspector slowly; "not without some guessing anyway." Not if you guessed for a week, I imagine," said Sir Richard with decision. Why, Mr. Jadd, that case was made in Arabia years ago. No one in England knows the secret of opening it—no one in all Europe, I should say, except Prince Akbar and myself. The mechanism, I must say, is infernally clever. It was the invention of an Arab rascal, who had more brains than honesty, I believe. Prince Akbar's father purchased the case from him shortly before he was transported to the Andaman Islands, so the secret is likely to re- main intact; but, of course, I'll impart it to you and Mr. Straight." He took the box with the air of a conjuror about to exhibit a feat of sleight of hand, pressed his fore finger and thumb upon op- posite corners with a strong pressure, and the sides and top rose, showing a dusky velvet bed, across which lay a curved aluminum bar—the clamp which had held the lost diamond in its place. Sir Richard groaned as he looked at the empty casket, and shook his head des- pairingly. "See," he said, "the clamp can only be turned by a special knack; see, it is simple when you know how it's done, but impossible to do if you don't know the trick." The detective took the case and examined it closely. Infernally clever, isn't it ?" said Sir Richard; you can see there is Eastern subtlety in the in- vention of it, eh ?" I know now, sir, how the diamond came into your possession," said Jadd, handing back the case without remark. Please to let me know next how it went out of it—every detail of your movements from the moment you last saw it in the case until you missed it this morning. Be as exact as possible, if you please, and think no- thing too trivial to mention." I last saw the diamond in this case when I went up to bed last night. I looked at it, wish- ing I could show it to my daughter; then I shut the case and put it under my pillow. TàiuBern- ing I took the case, wtueti was exaefcto wbare I left it under theI ifpii i*-&e diamond wsa gone — -1 John Straight looked anxiously at the detec- i tive; he, too, felt as if a doctor had just been < told the symptoms of a desperate case, and they t were waiting his diagnosis. Mr. Jadd had risen, and was pacing the floor, his hands deep in his pockets, his eyes on the ground. His face was puckered into a multitude of little wrinkles, its blank neutrality had vanished. Now, Sir Richard," he said, presently, "think carefully, if you please, I am going to ask an important question." Sir Richard and Straight looked eagerly to- I wards him. Did you on any occasion open the case and look at the stone when you were standing near any window or door from which you could have been seen by anyone?" "Never," said Sir Richard, emphatically. "I was most careful on that very point. I looked at the stone, but three or four times altogether, and each time I locked the door of the room be- fore I opened the case, and I did not go close to any window from which I could by the slightest possibility have been overlooked." And your valet-when you changed your coats-there's no possibility that you could have left the case even for a short time in one coat when you put on another ?" Not the slightest. Higgs—that's the butler —acts as valet to me—that is as far as personal attendance on myself is concerned, but I require very little of it. He leaves out my things, comes :11<1 shaves me when I ring for him, and so forth, but I never have him round when I'm dressing or undressing, and as to leaving the diamond case in one coat when I changed to another, that, Mr. Jadd, would have been quite im- possible. The care of the thing was on my mind from the moment it cam? into my possession. I may safely say I never lost consciousness of the possession of it for an instant—except when I was asleep and then it was under my head, and I believe most of the time my hand was under the pillow close tc it." Again there was silence, and the detective tramped the carpet ruminantly. Did you get into bed directly after you put the case under the pillow?" "No, not directly; I put it under the bolster when I went to my room, after that I undressed and washed?" In the same room ?" Well, practically in the same room, it was in the bath room, which is off the bed-room. The door is near the head of the bed; it was open all the time—and the bedroom door was shut." And locked-you sleep with your door locked, I believe ?" I do. I lock it just before I step into bed." Then it was not locked while you were in the bath-room ?'" No—that is to say, the key was not turned, but the door was shut." Ah—" Mr. Jadd was breathing a little quicker than before. "Will you allow me to see your room ?" Certainly." I've just come from town to see Mr. Straight on legal business, followed him here from his lodgings. Would like to wash dust off—that'll be excuse enough for taking me up- stairs if flunkeys are about," said Jadd, rapidly. They won't be about-not upstairs at this hour," said Sir Richard, smiling a little. He led the nay up, the detective carrying his clerical hat and followed by the K.C. Mt. Jadd stood on the threshold of the bed- room and looked round. Just as I thought," ho muttered. What-what did you think?" asked the baronet, hastily. Jadd, without answering, pointed to the bed, and the others followed the direction of his finger, but could not see the significance that attached to the object indicated, which was an ordinary rather old-fashioned mahogany bed- stead, hung with plum-coloured damask. The detective's next move was to take hold of the door, and swing it. It moved noiselessly. He turned the handle, it also was noiseless in its action. I thought as much." He was feeling in his pocket, and drew out a match-box—struck a light, and examined the hinges and lock care- fully. Yes," he remarked, meditatively draw- ing his finger along one hinge, "oiled, heavily oiled, more than a competent servant would apply. Now, Sir Richard, may I ask, sir, why did you put the stone under your pillow ?" "Why," repeated Sir Richard in surprise at the question, "for safety's sake, to be sure." But why under your pillow. Why not in your safe. You have a safe, of course?" Yes; it's in the study. If fire broke out 1 might not be able to get to it. I've been in the habit for years of putting any small thing of special value that I happen to have about me under my head at night." "Oh, it's a regular habit of yours then?" Yes. I always do it." Jadd was wiping the oil from his finger with his handkerchief. Do you have your man up when you're undressing p" No." Does anyone come up when you're going to bed—any servant for orders, for instance?" No, never." Any visitor—friend, secretary, so on, drop in for a chat-finish a cigar on the way to their room. Stop for a gossip—eh ?" Oh, there's Smith-" Sir Richard looked at Straight. "You know Smith, Mr. Straight?" Straight winced, then he nodded. "When he is stopping at the farm he often drops in for a rubber, and an argument—he loves an argument on art, does Smith—and once in a way he has followed me up here and kept at it till I've gone to sleep." And who is Mr. Smith ?" "A critic; an uncommonly clever fellow." In the house now ?" "Oh, no; he's in London-not been down for an age. Then's he's the only one who has ever come np to your room at night?" Yes. the only one, except my nephew. When he is staying here he sometimes comes in and smokes a cigarette in the lounging chair there on his way to his room." Is he staying here now?" Yes, but he wasn't here last night. He was dining with the Artillery mess at Horsham, spent the nig-ht there indeed, and only got back at breakfast time." Jadd had shut the door while he made his inquiries. Straight was leaning against the mantelpiece, his hands in his pockets. Sir Richard was fidgeting about uneasily, he re- cognised the necessity for it, but he disliked being cross-questioned, especially in the free and easy manner adopted by Mr. Jadd. "You asked me what I thought just now," re- marked the detective presently, I'll show you." He crossed the room to the head of the bed. The next instant he had disappeared. He had in fact tested the voluminousness of the plum coloured curtains hanging at the head of the bed by slipping behind them. At that moment the door opened, the next instant the detective step- ping from out of the folds of the curtain came face to face with a man who, just entering, started back at the unlooked for apparition. (To be continued.)
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PLEASANT SATURDAY EVENINGS AT RHYL. A RECORD "FIRST NIGHT." INAUGURAL SPEECH BY COUNCILLOR TILBY. Another series of popular week-end enter- tainments in Rhyl was commenced last Saturday evening in the Boys' Brigade Hall, Vale Road, the attendance being very encouraging to the promoters. Mr H A Tilby, chairman of the Urban District Council, who presided, delivered at a convenient interval a very practical speech. At the outset he said it was satis- fying to know that that evening he found himself among friends, but if he could, he would leave out the item on the programme at which they had just arrived. He was bound to say he did not altogether see the wisdom of putting in the programme that had been drawn up for that gathering such an item as "the Chairman's address." These gatherings, he took it, were intended to be of an entertaining and elevating char- acter, and to do something in the very best sense to promote the welfare of the people of the town. He very much doubted if speeches did that, but he had sitting' by his side a secretary who was inexorable, and who absolutely declined to let him off .(laughter and applause). That being the case, he thought that at the opening of this new session in the history of the Pleasant Saturday Evening movement in Rhyl, the first word should be one of congratulation. It was a very satisfactory sign that when they had reached, as was the case that night, the beginning of the third session of these gather- ings, there was such an excellent attendance. Of course he was one of those who, like Oliver Twist, were always crying for more, and lie supposed he would go on crying for more until the premises in which they were assembled that evening were not large enough to accommodate them. For a first night, however, he thought they had made a very excellent start, because it was a complaint made with a fair amount of justice that somehow or other the people of Rhyl were lacking in staying power and grit-they did not last. These gatherings,however, had stood the test of two seasons, and he believed that when they entered upon the third season in Rhyl with anything with any degree of success at all they were on the road to permanent suc- cess. He for one was perfectly satisfied that This Movement had Come to Stay, and he hoped they might be more widely known at once so that they would get at the next meeting a gathering similar to those they were accustomed to at the end of last season (applause). The last time he had the pleasure of standing before an audi- ence of that kind he had a few words to say on the question of a free library for Rhyl, and he ventured at that time to urge that this question was very largely in the hands of the people and not in the hands of those responsible for the good government of the town. (Here a broad smile did not escape the speaker's notice, and the word "good" was promptly withdrawn). At any rate, he proceeded, those responsible for the government of the town could only frame their policy in accordance with the demands and wishes of the people who sent them to the Council chamber. With regard to a free library he pointed out on the occasion referred to the difficulties in the way, and he regretted to say twelve months had passed by and they did not seem any nearer the accomplishment of that object-one which was dear to the hearts of all. He hoped still that the day was not far distant when they would see the accomplishment of what they so much desired (applause). There was no question, however, that gatherings of this sort supplied a real need. He trusted it would not be left to comparatively few, as he feared was the case, to provide these entertainments week by week, and he would like to see many who at present were to be found in the audience taking a more active part in the movement. Of course they were not all gifted with the same talents. He could not sing a song to save his life (laughter). But he did think there was a vast amount of latent talent in Rhyl which might be brought out. He urged them by all means to develop the musical side of their talents, and that more strongly, but he asked what were they doing for the literary side of the community 1 And to that the answer appeared to be Absolutely nothing. What he would like to suggest to chose responsible for these entertainments, and especially to Mr A Lewis Jones, who devoted so much time and labour to the movement—(loud applause)—was that now they had entered upon the third season they should do something to develop what he called the literary side. He thought that the introduction of the competitive element would be-a very good thing, for in this way they could extend the scope of that talent which would otherwise be dormant. Continuing, Mr Tilby referred to the fact that it had been decided that the National Eisteddfod should again be held in their midst (applause). If they looked at that question simply from the commercial point of view-simply from the view that it was going to bring a few more thousands of people to Rhyl for a single week, thereby adding a little more to the takings of lodging-house keepers and increasing the bank balances of tradesmen, then he ventured to think thft their conception of the National Eisteddfod was very wide of the mark, and that they would not benefit by it as they ought to do. Its presence in their midst, he had no doubt, would give an excellent fillip to Rhyl and make it more widely known. As one of their representa- tives on what he hoped would some day be a corporate body, he was not indifferent to the commercial aspect of the question. He trusted that the event of 1904 would add much to the town's material welfare. But The National Eisteddfod was something on an entirely different line from that. It was the emblem of national sentiment, which brought into their midst all that was noblest and best in their country. The National Eisteddfod represented something that was peculiar to themselves, and he wanted if possible that when it came to Rhyl it would leave a lasting mark upon the character of the people of the town, and that it would have done something to develop their intellect. It meant, therefore, that those who had any ability must exercise it and let it be seen. By constant study even some of those whom they had heard that evening might carry away some of the prizes which would be offered at the Eisteddfod. While agreeing that they would have to meet the best in the country, he urged them not to despair, but to remember that the best might be beaten by something better each succeeding year. Let them perse- vere with their studies, whether in the musical or literary line, and even if they did not succeed in capturing a prize they would have made tremendous progress in that direction, and would have done something to add to the fame of Rhyl. Wales, it had to be admitted, had lost its reputation in the musical world, so far as chorus singing was concerned, not, how- ever, because of any want of musical ability, but simply because they were lacking in what he would term strenuous endeavour, which alone achieves success. Longfellow wrote- The heights by great men reached and kept Were not attained by sudden flight; But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upwards through the night. Remembering this, he in conclusion urged his hearers to toil on, and by their endeavours to encourage the committee responsible for these gatherings to arrange competitive items from time to time, in order that the abilities of which they were possessed might have opportunities for assertion (loud applause). Mr A Lewis Jones, at the close of the proceed- ings, said it had been a record first night attend- ance, and the promoters had every reason indeed to be encouraged in their work. He thanked the Chairman for his suggestion with regard to competitive items, which he trusted they would be able to arrange, and for which he hoped the boys and girls would prepare themselves. He thanked those who had helped in different ways that evening, and especially did he welcome Miss Murray Clarke, who was a new comer. Conclu- ding, he appealed for volunteers for their weekly programme. With regard to the one item of the programme which Mr Tilby had almost depre- cated, he thought the address they had listened to that night was ample justification of the committee's action in making the Chairman's address an important part of their programme (applause). The programme was of a varied nature, and the different contributions were very deserving of the applause accorded them. The items included pianoforte duets by Miss Fanny and Master Bernie Cheetham and the Misses Parry; songs by Mrs Freeman (3), Miss Lizzie Evans, Miss Bella McEwen, Mr J Roberta Jones (2), and Mr A W James; reading by Mr F C Tailby; concertina solos (2) by Mr T A Edwards; recitations (2) by Miss Murray Clarke duet by Messrs J Roberts Jones and A W James. Miss Mabel Hughes ably dis- charged the duties of accompanist.
MUNICIPAL ELECTRICITY. A HEAVY LOSS FOR THE RATEPAYERS. "Many councillors here and elsewhere are under the impression that the production of electric light is a source of considerable profit to municipal corporations, but that is by no means the casa. Speaking roughly, it might be said that, on the whole, the working of municipal electrical undertakings throughout the country is carried on at neither a profit nor a loss." This quotation is not from an anti-muni- cipal trading publication, but from a speech by Councillor Crosbie, chairman of the Elec- tricity Committee of the Wolverhampton Corporation. Such choice phrases express very imper- fectly the shocking condition of municipal electricity business in many important towns Mr Crosbie was speaking very" roughly" indeed in makiug even such a modest claim, especially as he was endeavouring to persuade his hearers that Wolverhampton was one of the fortunate cities which have come out on the right side. Several of his colleagues asserted, without contradiction, that there are many thousands of pounds worth of obsolete machinery at the station which is valued in the accounts at cost price, just as in nearly all other towns. Until this is written off there can obviously be no profit. The real position at Wolverhampton is that the ratepayers are losing heavily on the business, while the consumers are being "sweated" by the average charge ot 4.18d per unit, which for such a town is really extortionate. There are 500 consumers and nearly 20,000 ratepayers to condole with one another over this bright example of municipal enterprise." In 1901 no fewer than 60 towns admitted a loss on their electric supply business, while most of the remainder were only able to show a small paper profit, like Wolverhampton, by shutting their eyes to the fall in value of their plant and machinery, by charging the ratepayers high—in some cases shamefully high—prices for street lamps, and by com- mandeering the services of the general office staff free of charge. Thus at Croydon the borough auditor makes the following state- ment :— Nothing has been charged against this department for the clerical and other work done at the Town Hall. A. sum of £7,500 has been transferred from the debtor of the revenue account to the creditor of the gen- eral district rate account .£5,385 128 lOd being for interest and £2,114, 7s 2d sinking fund. I would point out that these are arbitary amounts. Further, I would bring before your notice that, while there is no legal necessity to charge against profits more than interest and sinking fund instalments, yet 1 think the burgesses should have brought before them most clearly that, in my opinion, the depreciation is very much greater than the amount of the sinking fund, and that if, instead of electric lighting being a corporation department, it had been a com- pany having the privilege of borrowing money at, say, 3 per cent, the trading would in my opinion, after writing off sufficient depreciation, show a heavy loss." Still, without going into this vital ques- tion of accuracy of accounts at all, 60 towns showed an admitted loss in 1901. Amongst them they borrowed £6,018,470, on the security of the rates, and the employment of that huge sum, for the prin- cipal and iuterest of which the ratepayers are responsible, resulted in a loss of £92,280, without making provision for wear and tear or antiquation of machinery. Was it worth while, you cannot help asking, to mortgage the ratepayers' property for such a purpose and for such results? Only look a little more closely into the matter and you will repeat the question more emphati- cally. For one of the most amazing features is the ridiculously small number of ratepayers who use the light in their houses and shops. Thus, in Salford there are 36,000, rate- payers and 401 consumers, and the year's loss was £7,489, coming on top of heavy losses in previous years. "Municipal enter- prise" in Salford means, therefore, that in one year 36,000 people put their hands in their pockets in order to supply electric light at a loss to a select body of 401. Nearly 99 non-users have to help to pay the electric light bill of the hundredth, and the year's loss works out at 4s. 2d. per ratepayer, accepting the accounts as correct, which they are not. And this monstrous anomaly exists not only in Salford, but in scores ot other towns. It has been roundly condemned not merely by the "Times and similar exponents of "old-fashioned economic theories, but by the "Westminster Gazette," the" Speaker," and other accredited organs of Progressi- vism." Salford is a most deplorable example Apart from its losses on revenue, it is cer- tain that an enormous proportion of its capital—not less than £50.000, and by one of the borough auditors estimated at £ 150,000—has been wholly wasted owing to the extravagant manner in which the system was inaugurated. Where only two genera- ting &ets were required eight were laid down, which the officials jocularly christened Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Christmas Day. Most of this plant has had to lie idle, while the ratepayers were paying interest on the borrowed money with which it was bought. In similar plight, if not to the same extent, is Glasgow, which has expended £ 836,000, and in the year ending March, 1901, lost £-t,517. Dublin is almost too painful a subject to touch upon. Many thousands of pounds have been sunk for ever in providing a supply of electricity at 6d a unit, while a private company in Cork is supplying at 2id and making handsome profits Bath again is a hopeless failure. Last Christmas, after had been spent, there was a complete breakdown and the consulting engineer advised that £70,000 more would be required to re-organise the supply. All over the country there are wretched municipal electric lighting SI which have to be subsidised by thr and which still fail to afford a good In nearly every case a private would have given a cheaper supply wituo.. any risk to the ratepayers. Yet just to humour the municipal trading fad, all these millions have been sunk without any return, except, of course, to the money-lenders, who hive no objection to taking their safe 3 or 3! per cent. on loans raised on the security of the rates and wasted by the "electricity committee." It is sometimes argued as a desperate excuse for this shocking condition of things that there is a great future for the under- takings. If it comforts and encourages the municipalisers no theory could be more dan- gerous. It is true tha, electric light is not, like gas in which even more municipal mil- lions are invested, going out of fashion. Not at all. Electric light is probably the light of the future. But the method of supply- ing it is by no means finally settled. Many towns are hopelessly struggling with obsolete systems of supply started within the lust ten years. And apart from the claim of Nicola Tecla and other inventors on behalf of a wireless system of transmission, which would put the municipal mains out of use altogether, most eminent engineers recognise that the town has ceased to be a suitable self-contained area for electric work. In the near future current will, probably, be either supplied from great power stations miles away or it will be generated on the premises. The oidinary municipal station is a failureilat present, and has nothing to hope for in the iu tIJre. Western Mail*"
ST. ASAPH BOARD OF GUARDIANS FORTNIGHTLY MEETINC. FRIDAY.—Present: Mr R Llew Jones (chairman), Mrs Robert Jones, Miss Bennett, and Messrs J H Ellis, Thos Evans, John Frimston, T P Hughes, J D Jones, J Roberts Jones, Joseph Jones, Morris Jones, Wm Jones, John Kerfoot, John Lloyd, Thos Lloyd, Edwin Morgan, Thos Owen, Owen Owens, J T Parry, S Perks, J Pierce, D Roberts, Hugh Roberts, John Roberts, T Howes Roberts, R C Thompson, John Williams, P Mostyn Williams, and Charles Grimsley (clerk). Master's Report. The Master (Mr Robert Jones) reported that the present number of inmates was 116, as against 137 for the corresponding period of last year, and that during the fortnight 67 vagrants had been relieved, compared with 56 twelve months ago. Gifts of buns, sweets, tobacco, &c., for the inmates" ere reported forom Mrs Luxmoore and Mr and Mrs Williams (Cae Drain, Henllan). On the motion of the Chairman a hearty vote of thanks was accorded those who had so kindly thought of the inmates. The Superannuation of Poor Law Offioers. The next item on the agenda was the further consideration of the Finance Committee's report as to the circular from the Forehoe Union in reference to the present working of the Poor Law Officers' Superannuation Act. Mr P Mostyn Williams said the Committee had considered the matter again that morning,and again they recommended the adoption of the resolution which the Forehoe Union asked them to support. They were confirmed in the belief that it would be a very great advantage to have a central super- annuation fund, as in that case the strong would be able to help the weak. Taking the fund generally, he had no doubt the scheme would be self-supporting. Their Clerk was of opinion that any insurance company might take up the matter and work it on behalf of the various Unions. It was also desirable that a central fund should be established under the control of the Local Govern- ment Board, because there were so many fluctua- tions in the liabilities of Unions, and by such an arrangement their assets could be spread over a large area. Concluding, he moved the adoption of the report. Mr Ellis seconded. The Chairman said a letter had been received from the Malton Union also supporting the proposed scheme. Mr Morgan asked whether the Committee's report embraced the suggestion made at the last meeting recommending the adoption of a halfpenny rate. Mr P Mostyn Williams replied that they did not think a halfpenny rate would be required. At the same time it would provide for any contin- gency. Mr J Roberts Jones took it that at the present moment the St Asaph Union was making money under the existing arrangement, but if any calls were made upon them out of the fund it might rrean to them much more than a halfpenny rate. He believed that the amount this Union was saving was i40 per annum, while they had heard that Ruthin Union had to pay some hundreds of pounds. Yet St Asaph Union might at any time be called upon to pay quite as much as their neighbours, but in the event of the recommendation now before the meeting being put in the effect, they would be quite sure of the burden being spread evenly over the different Unions. The Chairman The rate if levied will only be once for all. Mr Pierce fully supported the movement, and his opinion was that it would be a self-supporting and thoroughly paying concern. They must look towards the future when possibly they might be in the same position as those Unions which had now to bear a very heavy burden under the present superannua- tion arrangement. The Chairman Supposing the Master was to retire, which he will be entitled to do soon, his pension alone would swallow the whole of our fund in about six years. Dr Hughes is also entitled to superannuation, you must remember. Mr Frimstsn In that case we should be worse off than many Unions. The Chairman Quite so. After further discussion the report was adopted, a substantial majority being in its favour. The Claim against the War Offioe. A letter was read from Mr Barker, clerk to the Denbigh Asylum Governing Body, stating that the Regimental Paymaster at Wrexham had been com- municated with on the subject of the maintenance of Henry Malings, at present a patient of the asylum, but up to now no reply had been received. The Chairman said this was the case concerning which the Board contended that the War Office ought to bear the cost, and he thought it desirable that they should insist as far as possible upon the Government taking notice of cases like this. At the Clerk's suggestion it was decided that in the tvent of an early reply not being forthcoming from Wrexham the War Office be communicated with direct. A Well-merited Compliment. Various other lunacy and removal cases having been dealt with, in the course of which it was shown that the Clerk had secured the settlement of an asylum patient named Beatrice Watts in a Somerset Union, Mr Morgan thought that now would be a good opportunity for the Board to express their appreciation of the very valuable services rendered by Mr Grimsley in settlement cases. Particularly in the case just mentioned had he taken considerable trouble and shewn great ability, and but for his untiring efforts the Board might have been responsible for the maintenance of that case for years. He was afraid they could not express their appreciation in a more practical manner than by a resolution of thanks entered upon the minutes (laughter), which course he readily proposed. Mr Joseph Jones, in seconding, said recently he had a conversation with the head attendant at the asylum, who volunteered the opinion that the Clerk of the St Asaph Union was the best they had in North Wales. M r Pierce having cordially supported the motion, a resolution expressing appreciation of Mr Grimsley's services in removal cases generally, and in lunacy cases in particular, was carried unani- mously. The Clerk, in acknowledgment of the compli- ment, said he was glad to find that his services met with the Board's approval.
V600 Two Packets of llrrovost 11 will make as much Porridge as Three Packets of American. There are no Oats like Scotch Oats and no Scotch Oats like Provost Oats. R. ROBINSON & SONS, ANNAN, N.B.
(DENBIGH) RURAL RIOT COUNCIL. tOMTHLY MEETINC. esent: Messrs J D Jones (chiir- Roberts (vice-chairman), Robert Davies, t, jph Jones, William Jones, John -P Kerfoot, John Lloyd. Thomas Lloyd, Thomas Owen, Owen Owens, David Roberts, John Roberts, and the Clerk (Mr Charles Giimsley). A Clean Health Bill A communication was read from the Medical Officer (Dr Lloyd Roberts) to the effect that no cases of infectious disease had been notified during the month. Llanfair Water and Drainage Schemes. A letter was read from Mr R W Wynne as to his terms for letting the water supply source aad drainage outlet ground at Llanfairtaihaiarn. The rentals asked for were 30s per annum for the water and jE5 per annumn for the drainape, including the right to carry pipes through his land. Should these terms be entertained, he would require a lease to be drawn up and submitted for his approval. Mr Joseph Jones thought that this was a matter for the consideration of the Llanfair parish in the first place. His opinion was that the charge was very high. The Sanitary Surveyor (Mr Geo Bell) thought that for water the terms were reasonable enough, but f5 for drainage was rather stiff. Mr Owen concurred, and it was resolved that he and Mr Lloyd be requested to interview Mr Wynne before coming to any decision regarding his letter. A Complaint from Llanddulas. A letter was lead from Miss Shallcross, complain- ing of the want of ashpits and other necessary sanitary conveniences at Beulah Road, Llanddulas. The Clerk said he had already referred the matter to the Sanitary Surveyor, and the latter added that when he met Miss Shallcross he found her all cross" (laughter). The drains, &c., it was also stated, had been attended to. but the chief complaint appeared to be that there were no ven- tilating shafts in the parish. It was decided to write Miss Shallcross an explanatory letter. Laid on the Table. A letter was read from the Local Government Board enclosing a memorandum on the steps to be taken to meet any outbreak of smallpox, also a memorandum on vaccination. The Clerk having mentioned what had been the experience of the Rural Council for the Flintshire district of the Union in regard to this subject, the letter was ordered to lie on the table. Proposed Assistance for the Sanitary Surveyor. With reference to a letter from the St. Asaph (Flint) Rural District Council inviting the Den- bigh Rural District Council to meet them at their meeting on November 7th, to consider the question of providing assistance for the Sanitary Surveyor, it was decided not to entertain the matter until March next. Solicitors' Heavy Charges. The Council next considered the bill of costs of Messrs Porter and Amphlett and Mr J M Porter in connection with the Llanfairtalhaiarn water scheme (Ty Celyn), the amounts being JE15 4s 6d and £6 19s 5d respectively. It appears that originally an agreement was entered into with a Mr Jones, of Old Colwyn, for the lease of a water source for the supply of the parish, but after everything had been completed the Parish Council changed their minds as to a water source, that on Mr Wynne's estate being considered preferable. The Clerk said the owner of the original site was willing to rent it to the Council on condition that a proper lease be prepared. Mr Owen He asked for f5 a year. The Clerk: He is willing to lease it to this Council for 30 years at 95 a year, but the Local Government Board do rot approve of any such arrangement. Mr Owen said the Parish Council threw out the original scheme because there was no water forthcoming from the Old Colwyn site. He con- tended that the Parish Council were never in favour of that site, and that the responsibility rested with the District Council. Mr Joseph Jones suggested that the bill be first submitted to the consideration of the Llanfair Parish Council. Mr Owen would then be able to thrash out the question of responsibility there. Without a doubt the transaction had been a per- fectly legal one, but as to the amount of the bill he would say nothinll, except that Mr Jones, the owner of the site originally chosen, when he heard what was likely to be, remarked to him that the charges were rather heavy. The Clerk, in answer to what Mr Owen had alleged, referred to the record of a resolution passed by the Llanfair Parish Council on July 7, 1899, which unanimously approved of the original scheme. From your own Parish Council, Mr Owen," added Mr Grimsley (laughter). It was also recorded in the minutes that at a subsequent meeting the Parish Council changed their minds. Eventually Mr Joseph Jones' suggestion was agreed to.
"THE BELLS OF ABERDOVEY." BY THE LATE RECTOR OF MERTHYR. I am an Aberdovey man, in every sense of the word, from my boyhood up to the present moment. [ might say with troth I was all but born there. My mother was born there, and her mother and grandmother and great-grandmother, for ever so many generations back, up to the times of Ere, for aught I know, if Eye ever was in such a beauti- ful country; a real Paradise, with no myth about it, Further, I know every inch of the great Bay of Cardigan-one of the largest and moat dangerous bays in the world-form Sound Enlli—"Bardsey Sound," in Carnarvonshire—on the north, to Pen- dewi -"St. David's Head" —in Pembrokeshire, on the south; and would, without any hesitation. undertake to pilot any vessel out of it with safety so long as wind and weather, iron, sails, and timber would hold together. The first time I ever heard of "The Bells of AberdJvev" was when the late Lord Bute. 35 years ago last January, offered me the living of Aberdare. Before I accepted it, like a wise young man, and always remembering my father's injunction, "John, never buy a c'it in a bag," I went to look at it. That evening I spent at Glendare. The lady of the bouse there was a most charming singer, and especial y of Welsh songs. To my great astonishment and infinite admiration, she sang "The bells of Aberdovey. I was so delighted that I hardly knew where I was standing, and, like the Atchbishop of Dublin, I pinched myself in a tender place in order to know whether it was a dream or not. There was only one regret I felt, and that was, there were no "bells,"at Aberdovey, and until some ten years before there never had been even a church there. And as for the song itself, I can answer for it nobody in Aberdovey ever heard of it-I mean the aborigines -yr hen bobl erioed, erioed. For when I next went there I made every inquiry of the oldest inhabitants, male and female, and they had never heard of it. So much for the song being connected with Aberdovey. Now for the theory, as I make it oat. Instead of "Bells of Aberdovey, it should be written "The Belles of Aberdovey which is really a translation of the fine old Welsh air, Morwyn- ion Glan Merionydd" (" The Fair Belles of Merioneth''). Aberdovey, being one of the largest towns, or, rather, not the smallest, for they are all small, was taken to represent the county of Merioneth. And the other reason is, being of an inquisitive turn in that respect, I have frequently noticed that, for every one belle in every other town in Merioneth, we in Aber- dovey can always reckon two belles." If any- one doubts me, let him put his knapsack on this fine weather, and trudge through Aber- dovey, Towyn, Barmouth, Dolgelley,and Harlech, and he will not hesitate to coule at the saiod result as I have, and give Aberdovey the paldl. This once settled Bells is soon changed into Belles," and Morwynion Glan Merioneth into the Belles of Aberdovey. As for "an old Aberdovey further out in the bay" ever so many miles, there is no such tbiog. but a fine sandy bottom all the way to Enlli, 35 miles out. "Bells being heard in the storm" is ridiculous to those who know what the surf is on that coast, coming as they do-the huge waves- all the way from New York. There is no explanation that will hold water but the Belles of Aberdovey." Un, dan, tri pedwar, pump, chwech," is the dream of the com- poser of this exquisite air. Somebody translated for him "Morwynion Glan Merionydd" into "The Belles of Aberdovey and he, not knowingibetter, mistook tha sound for "Belb" ("elychaa"), and went off at once, as is shown 10 Dibdin's version, with his ''One, two, tbrAe. for, five, six," &c., which, in its tnrn, became BarBIO "Un, dan, tri, pedwar, pump, chwech," and so oD, until dear old Aberdovy got what it never had for years, and has not yet, church tower and bellso at least not a peal. JOHN GBIFFITH,